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Two opposing protest demonstrations in capital on SA-Iran issue

09 January, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: The federal capital on Friday witnessed two opposing protest demonstrations over the Saudi Arabia-Iran row.

The participants of one of the protest rallies expressed concerns over the political executions in Saudi Arabia while the other group termed the criticism of Riyadh as a potential attack on the holy sites in that country.

The first rally was taken out from G-6 Imambargah to D-Chowk, where a set of concerns was presented to Foreign Office spokeperson Qazi Khalilullah, who was called there to prevent protesters from crossing into the Red Zone.

A large number of women and children, representatives of religious parties and even members of civil society participated in the rally.

The speakers decried political victimisation in Saudi Arabia and said anybody opposing the regime in that country was termed a terrorist and an anti-Islam activist.

Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen Secretary General Allama Amin Shaheedi said world leaders, including the UN secretary general, had condemned human rights violations in Saudi Arabia.

The other rally, organised by Tehreek Difa-i-Harmain Sharifain started from Melody Market and ended at Aabpara. The participants mainly belonged to religious seminaries of the proscribed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) and the Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadis, with the support of several other religious parties.

The organisers of the rally exchanged harsh words with the management of Lal Masjid before and during Friday prayers over the parking of a truck-mounted loudspeaker outside the mosque. Local ASWJ leaders continued calling for active participation in the rally while the Friday sermon continued within the mosque.

In contrast with other such protests in the past, students from the main seminaries did not participate in the rally.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, the founder of the banned Harkatul Mujahideen and the current leader of Ansarul Ummah, was among the keynote speakers.

The speakers said an international conspiracy was being hatched to damage the holy sites in Saudi Arabia, including Prophet Muhammad’s mosque and Kaaba. They said the attack on the Saudi embassy in Iran was part of this conspiracy.

The speakers also alleged that the protest demonstrations being held against the executions in Saudi Arabia were an attempt to fan sectarianism in Pakistan.

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